This book is an explosion of colors and adventures—the irreverent chronicle of the many lives lived by Dorothy Iannone, one of the most eccentric artists I know. With her joyous, pan-sexual energy, Iannone has been endlessly rewriting her autobiography, mixing art history and fairy tales.
For over five decades, Dorothy Iannone has been making exuberantly sexual and joyfully transgressive image+text works, often drawing on autobiography and incorporating lovers and friends into her stories. Beginning with An Icelandic Saga
in which Iannone narrates her journey to Iceland (where she meets artist Dieter Roth and leaves her husband to live with him), this singular volume traces Iannone’s search for “ecstatic unity” from its carnal beginnings in her relationships with Roth and other men into its spiritual incarnation as she becomes a practicing Buddhist. Iannone’s work—exploring sexual liberation and self-realization in a different but no less radical way than her feminist contemporaries—is rich with provocative inversions of muse and maker, sacred and profane, male and female, submission and dominance. Ever-flowing from a fertile confluence of art and life, her work is inflected in surprising ways with equal parts Tantric metaphysics and Fluxus avant-garde.
You Who Read Me With Passion Now Must Forever Be My Friends reproduces some familiar works in Iannone’s oeuvre but focuses on rarely seen, long-out-of- print artist’s books, drawings and unpublished writings, many reproduced in their entirety or substantial excerpted so that readers can delve into work not easily read in an exhibition space or a catalog. This selection features the complete 80-page fever-dream Danger in Düsseldorf (originally published by Hansjörg Mayer), the lover’s ode The Whip, as well as almost half of A Cookbook in which she narrates the exultations and tribulations of her life between the lines of recipes. With wit, visual delight, irresistible erotic candor and heart-felt generosty, Iannone invites readers into an intimate world that speaks to the liberating potential of love.
Dorothy Iannone is a pioneer whose work from the 1960s forward has opened out a space of exuberant, colorful transgression, mixing a canny sense of humor with the gravity of the erotic. Her paintings and drawings, in which she is often the star, are a hybrid mix of high and low references—and represent a crucial piece in the history of female self-articulation. Bizarre, proliferative, and also figurative, her work can be understood as parallel to the taboo-shattering underground comics of Robert Crumb and Aline Kominsky-Crumb. Iannone’s oeuvre, beautifully collected here in this important book, is part of a history of brave—often sexually explicit—expression that we recognize today in contemporary comics. You Who Read Me With Passion Now Must Forever Be My Friends is a revelation.
Dorothy Iannone (b. 1933, Boston, MA) has been making artist’s books, paintings, drawings, sculptures, sound pieces and video installations in relative obscurity since the 1960s until The Wrong Gallery featured her work at the Tate Modern in 2005, followed by The Whitney Biennial in 2006 with the work “I Was Thinking Of You,” (1975/2005) colloquially known as “the orgasm box.” Her first solo exhibition at a U.S. museum, “Dorothy Iannone: Lioness,” took place in 2009 at the New Museum in New York when she was seventy-six years old. The New York Times wrote at the time: “High priestess, matriarch, sex goddess: the self-taught American artist Dorothy Iannone has been called all these things and more.” Her most recent solo exhibitions include “Innocent and Aware” at the Camden Arts Centre, London, and “Imperturbable” at the Centre National Édition Art Image, Paris, both in 2013. This year, in 2014, a solo show at the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich follows “This Sweetness Outside of Time,” a major retrospective at the Berlinische Galerie für Moderne Kunst, Berlin.